The mercy of moving on

Letting go of emotional baggage as a gift to ourselves


We get so heart-wrenchingly tangled up in our own histories, dragging our past alongside us, hauling this baggage around as rather than letting it go. As though we’ve been holding it so long we’re now white-knuckled and lock-jawed, unable to release our hold.

We’re hurt. We’re afraid. We don’t know how to let go.

I have a friend — actually; many friends; all of the friends and non-friend people I know, because all of us do this — who did this with three dudes in one year. She was so open-hearted and vulnerable and honest and genuine in her search for love and investment in a relationship, she would give it her all —but then keep giving even after it had wadded up a few months later, as early relationships often (statistically) do.

And then she carried the hurt around with her. We would meet for drinks and she would ask me over and over,

“Does he just not care? Why doesn’t he care? I just want him to care.”

And at first I was all but patience and love, telling her “you deserve better; I’m sorry.” And after a while, this grew into agitation. Because, fam: you. deserve. better.

Stop hanging your heart on dudes who don’t want to date you. Stop dumping emotional energy into emptiness. Stop inviting hurt. Because they may seemed like great catches, sure — but you deserve better.

And I thought this message was stupidly straightforward.

Until I realized I do the same thing, with my own ghosts. We all do this.

We make our own histories into our own emotional baggage, packing it up and repacking it in until it’s bundled into something behemoth — far bigger than what it really is.

How we see our baggage:


What our baggage really is:


Or, perhaps more accurately, because we tether ourselves to it:


And we all have to constantly ask ourselves, “What do you want?”

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? The real deal in life: do you want to carry this baggage around? Is. that. what. you. want? Because you are choosing this, whether you admit it or not.

You ask that yourself enough times, with enough grace and enough honesty, I think most times you will come to understand: you don’t want this.

And if you’re gentle with that, and careful with it, you can roll down the window and let the sunny highway air tear in through it, across you. And if you’re still and open enough, you can let the wind take some of this with you; can hang it out the window and let it go like a loose hair — once part of you, but no more.

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